Logistical Issues for Shipping International Packages
If your B2B business sells products, there is a good chance you have clients overseas. Additionally, you may have international vendors. While technology has made the world smaller, and our economy has become more global, it is still different shipping or buying products internationally than within the U.S.
Shipping packages internationally is significantly more expensive than within the United States unless you ship enough to rate discounted prices. Part of the issue is the cost of fuel and transportation to other countries, and another issue is that the majority of small packages travel via air. Large shipments require transportation via boat unless there is an overland route.
Actual transportation can be a logistics nightmare depending on where you are shipping. Every country has its own unique factors such as road quality, method of transport and how developed their technology is. Vehicles can be an issue as well, since some countries do not have fleets of reliable vehicles available to transport shipments. Political issues in countries can also impact transportation, especially if there is a military conflict.
When you are shipping or receiving packages from another country, customs is always a high-priority issue. Customs in either the originating country or the destination country can hold packages for variable periods of time. To reduce the holdup in customs, your customs paperwork should be filled out completely and correctly. Incorrect paperwork can stop shipments for weeks, and there is little or no recourse for speeding up the process. With international terrorism a threat, many customs departments have become stricter and random searching of packages is a matter of course. Standard customs hold times generally range from a few hours to a few days. However, customs can hold your package for much longer.
To assure that your shipment will arrive on time, order early, ship priority and fill out all customs paperwork fully and correctly. You will be more satisfied with international shipping if you plan ahead.